Bismarck du Plessis has dismissed smack talk from the Sharks camp that suggests the Vodacom Cheetahs are a predictable side.
Sharks captain Warren Britz last week criticised the Cheetahs, saying that their gameplan was “predictable” while skills coach David Campese slammed them in his weekly newspaper column saying: â€œThey are a team that waits for their opponents to make mistakes and capitalise on their weaknesses…theyâ€™re simply a defensive team, who rely on kicking goals to win matches.”
The hooker though refused to be drawn into their condemnation of the defending champions.
“I don’t think they are predictable at all,” he told Keo.co.za. “If they are, then they need to keep doing what they are doing because it’s been extremely successful to this point.
“If you were to comment on them, I think predictable would be an inaccurate term to use. I’d say they were extremely well coached and structured side who know what their strengths are and seek to play to those [strengths].”
Britz and Campese could be made to rue their impetuous statements when they face a side who they haven’t beaten in seven attempts. No team in the Absa Currie Cup has scored more points (579) and conceded less points (286) than the Cheetahs, which speaks volumes of their attacking and defensive aptitude.
“They are the one team in the competition whose strengths are difficult to identify,” Du Plessis noted. “That’s because they are such a good all-round team, and have no obvious weaknesses.”
When the Sharks travelled to Bloemfontein a fortnight ago, their general forward play was good, despite conceding three tries from driving mauls. Du Plessis suggested that the Sharks pack would now aim to move from a position of forward parity to dominance.
“The pack will be key considering the type of explosive backs we have,” he explained. “If we’re on the front foot on first phase, then it means they are able to execute their set pieces relatively pressure free.
“I’m sure they’ll try and dominate us in the tight again, and they’ll again target us on the drive from lineout, but we’re prepared for that.”
By Ryan Vrede